Jamie Vardy’s Leicester fairy tale is nearing its end – the question is what is next?

Jamie Vardy celebrates scoring his 15th Championship goal of the season
Given Leicester City' PSR problems, Jamie Vardy will almost certainly leave the club at the end of his contract in July after 12 years at the King Power - Adam Fradgley/West Bromwich Albion FC via Getty Images

As Leicester City close in on an immediate return to the Premier League, the uncomfortable question looms large: is this the end of the fairy tale for Jamie Vardy?

He is the greatest signing in Leicester’s history, a £1 million bargain who has lifted the league title and an FA Cup, claimed a Golden Boot and smashed countless records during a glorious 12-year spell.

Now 37, Vardy has remained the undisputed ‘Goat’ this season and delivered 15 goals to put Leicester in the driving seat for automatic promotion.

Yet this could be the year when the magical story has to finish.

Vardy’s contract expires at the end of the season and, with Leicester facing an uncertain future because of financial restrictions, there are doubts over whether there will be another chapter for their star forward.

Leicester are currently under a transfer embargo from the Football League and facing sanctions next season for breaching the Premier League’s profitability and sustainability rules.

With Leicester under pressure to raise money before June 30 to avoid further punishments next year, Vardy’s lucrative contract and his age means that ruthless decisions will have to be taken.

Wilfred Ndidi, Kelechi Iheanacho, Marc Albrighton and Dennis Praet are in a similar position, and unlikely to remain at the club beyond the summer.

Vardy’s situation is clearly a very sensitive one, and Leicester will be determined to handle it with extreme care.

The league leaders face Southampton at the King Power Stadium on Tuesday night, and the prospect of this being Vardy’s penultimate appearance in front of the home fans is very real.

Vardy has no plans to retire, and has cleverly adapted his game and training method to prolong what has been an outstanding career.

A few years ago he had a cryotherapy chamber installed at his home to help aid recovery. He continues to do all the right things off the field and, in his mind, the end is nowhere near.

Major League Soccer could be an attractive option for the former Fleetwood Town striker, who first rose to prominence on the gnarled terrains of non-league football.

With his goals record this season still impressive, there could also be clubs in England’s top two divisions who consider him as a potential signing.

Earlier this year, Vardy said: “Thirty-seven is just a number. You’re as young as you feel.

“Football’s a demanding game, it has to be like that, and you just make sure you recover right and get ready for the next game.

“I look after myself, keep myself fit, so I’ll keep going for as long as possible.”